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March 28th USDA Reports

Written by: Kent Thiesse

On March 28, 2012, USDA released its “Prospective Plantings Report” and its “Quarterly Grain Stocks Report”.  These were very highly anticipated USDA Reports, due to the uncertainty in grain prices in recent months, as well as with the tight USDA estimated grain stocks that existed in recent months. Typically, these late March USDA Reports are very critical to farm operators and grain traders because these reports tend to have a high impact on grain market prices in the Spring and early Summer. This is the time of the year when many farm operators try to sell remaining grain inventories from the previous growing season, as well as look for opportunities to forward price a portion of the anticipated crop for the current year. In a majority of years, corn and soybean prices usually reach their peak price in the Spring months, from April until June.

 

Following are the key items from the March 28th Reports :

 

Corn --- Indicated intended corn planting acres of 97.3 million acres for 2013, which is up slightly

               from the 97.2 million planted acres in 2012, and up 6 percent from 91.9 million acres in 2011.

               If achieved, the 2013 planted corn acres would be the highest since 1936, when 102 million

               acres were planted. The corn stocks on March 1, 2013, were listed at 5.40 billion bushels,

               which is down 10 percent from the 6.02 billion bushels on March 1, 2012. The March 1 corn

               stock estimate was about 400 million bushels higher than grain trade estimates prior to the

               USDA Report, which caused an immediate negative reaction in the cash corn market.

Soybeans --- Indicated intended soybean planting acres of 77.1 million acres in 2013, which is down

                      slightly from the 77.2 million acres of soybeans in 2012, but is 3 percent above the 75.0

                      million acres planted in 2011. The 2013 soybean acreage would be the fourth highest in

                      history. Soybean stocks on March 1, 2013, were listed at 1.0 billion bushels, which

                      compares to 1.37 billion bushels on March 1, 2012, and is slightly higher than the pre-

                      report estimates by the grain trade industry, which also had a negative market impact.

Wheat --- Indicated intended total wheat plantings for 2013 of 56.4 million acres, which is up 1

                 percent from 55.7 million acres in 2012, and 4 percent above the 54.4 million acres of wheat

                 planted in 2010. The wheat stocks on March 1, 2013, were listed at 1.23 billion bushels,

                 which is slightly above the 1.20 billion bushels on March 1, 2012, and the 1.17 billion

                 bushels of wheat inventory expected by the grain trade.

Cotton --- Indicated intended cotton plantings of 10.0 million acres for 2013, which is down 19

                  percent from 12.3 million acres in 2012, and is down 32 percent the 14.7 million acres of

                  cotton planted in 2011. Most of the lost cotton acres in the South in recent years have been

                  converted to extra corn and soybean acres.

 

The State-by-State Prospective Plantings Report for 2013 is also rather interesting. In Minnesota, growers are expected to plant 9.0 million acres of corn in 2013, which is the highest amount ever and is up over 3 percent from the 8.75 million acres planted in 2012, and almost 11 percent higher than the 8.1 million acres planted in 2011. Minnesota farmers are expected to plant 6.8 million acres of soybeans in 2013, which is down about 4 percent from the 7.05 million acres of soybeans in 2012, and is below the 7.1 million soybean acres planted in 2011. Prospective plantings for 2013 in Iowa indicated 14.2 million acres of corn in 2013, which is same as planted corn acres in 2012, and slightly above the 2011 level. The 2013 planted soybean acreage in Iowa is estimated at 9.4 million acres, which is up slightly from 9.35 million acres in both 2012 and 2011.

 

Prospective crop acres for 2013 in Nebraska, Illinois, and Indiana showed decreases in corn acreage, with Nebraska and Indiana also showing a slight decrease in 2013 soybean acreage, as compared to 2012 acreage. Illinois was the only major Corn Belt State that is projecting a major increase in soybean acreage for 2013. North Dakota is estimated to have a 14 percent increase in corn acreage in 2013, and a 3 percent increase in soybean acreage, as compared to 2012, while South Dakota is expected to have a 4 percent decrease in corn acreage and a 3 percent decrease in soybean acreage in 2013, compared to 2012 planted acreage. It appears that intended 2013 corn acres are being reduced more significantly in States that were more highly impacted by the 2012 Drought.

 

The March 28th USDA Grain Stocks Report indicated that as of March 1, there were just under 2.7 billion bushels of corn and nearly 457 million bushels of soybeans stored on farms in the U.S., which represents about 50 percent of the total corn stocks and 46 percent of the total soybean stocks. The March 1, 2013 on-farm grain stocks compare to nearly 3.2 billion bushels of corn and 555 million bushels of soybeans in on-farm storage on March 1, 2012. According to the USDA Report, there were 540 million bushels of corn and 75 million bushels of soybeans in on-farm storage in Minnesota on March 1, 2013, compared to 440 million bushels of corn and 72 million bushels of soybeans a year earlier in 2012.

 

USDA does not survey the percentage of the bushels in on-farm storage that are forward priced for future delivery, as compared to bushels that are not priced. However, many private analysts feel that a much higher percentage of the corn and soybean bushels still in storage on March 1, 2013, may be forward priced, as compared to typical years, especially with soybeans. The large amount of corn and soybean bushels in on-farm storage that is probably already forward priced, will likely make the grain market trends in the next few months much more critical for the 2013 “new crop” corn and soybeans than for remaining 2012 grain inventories..

 

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Note --- For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and

              Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. (Phone --- (507) 381-7960) ; 

              E-mail --- kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com)  Web Site --- http://www.minnstarbank.com/